Importance of Water Changes in Aquariums
Why is water quality important in aquariums?
Water quality affects the continued health and growth of aquarium inhabitants. Aquarium water quality is not merely an aesthetic concern but a fundamental part of fish health management. Simply put, maintaining clean, healthy water through routine water changes is the key to the well-being of aquarium inhabitants.
Why is changing water necessary in an aquarium?
Routine water changes have always been a basic aspect of aquarium maintenance. However, with the development of efficient filtration systems and versatile chemical filter media, the emphasis once placed on routine water changes has waned. The process of water changes on a frequent basis tends to be perceived as a laborious process, further discouraging responsible practices in changing water. Aquarium filtration helps extend water quality and slows down the buildup of harmful chemicals. However, filtration alone is not capable of completely offsetting the effects of declining water quality.
How do you balance the chemical import and export through water changes?
The basic dynamic that affects water quality is the on-going cycle of chemical import (addition) and export (removal). Whether through feeding, supplementation, or natural metabolic processes, various chemicals are constantly being introduced into the aquarium. While certain chemicals are imported into the water column, others are biologically processed or exported through filtration. When the import and export of these chemicals reach a state of equilibrium, the aquarium system is balanced and tends to have good water quality.
However, aquariums are closed systems where concentrations of imported chemicals and nutrients steadily accumulate over time. It is not uncommon for the import of chemicals to exceed an aquarium's ability to export them. When the aquarium system is not in balance, many undesirable aquarium conditions due to poor water quality begin to manifest. To prevent the effects of declining water quality, the hobbyist should intervene by performing regular water changes.
What are the benefits of water changes in aquariums?
Water changes restore and maintain a balanced aquarium by physically removing and diluting harmful chemicals as well as replenishing vital elements. Whether you have a fresh or saltwater aquarium, it is good practice to perform routine water changes. Key water change benefits include:
How often should I perform a water change?
As a general guideline, a monthly 25% water change is recommended. However, smaller, more frequent water changes (15-20% every 1-2 weeks) are preferable for heavily stocked aquariums or aquariums with large fish.